Lausanne, July 23. 2012 – The Swiss Federal Tribunal has put an end to the procedure involving UEFA and Olympique des Alpes SA in ruling that Olympique des Alpes’ appeal against the Court of Arbitration Sport (CAS) award rendered in this case on 31 January 2012 is inadmissible. The CAS award therefore becomes final.
In its ruling, the CAS upheld a decision by UEFA to exclude FC Sion from the Europa League 2011/2012 after the club fielded players in such competition that it had signed during a period in which it was banned from signing any new players. Olympique des Alpes SA appealed the CAS award to the Swiss Federal Tribunal requesting its annulment, citing in particular the lack of jurisdiction of the CAS and a lack of independence vis-à-vis FIFA.
Only two weeks after having received the parties’ written submissions, the Federal Tribunal delivered its judgment which simply stated that the appeal of Olympique des Alpes SA was inadmissible to the extent that it was not already moot.
Although relatively short, the judgment of the Federal Court will have an impact beyond this single case. Indeed, it establishes that the route of appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal is not open to athletes or clubs excluded from competition by a sports authority or court and wishing to secure the annulment of such a decision once the competition is already completed, even if damages might be theoretically required in case of unlawful exclusion.
In relation to the jurisdiction of CAS in general to rule on cases concerning football, the Tribunal Federal did not finally have to consider this point. This issue has however been decided at the cantonal level: the courts of the cantons of Vaud, Bern and Valais have indeed all recognized the jurisdiction of the CAS in the numerous proceedings initiated by Olympique des Alpes SA during recent months. —- CAS